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Chemistry of Renewable Energy Generation and Storage

The course provides an overview of different renewable energy techniques, relevant chemistry behind them, and associated technological and sustainable issues.

Examples of topics that will be covered include: global energy status, photovoltaics, artificial photosynthesis, batteries, fuel cells, and biofuel.

The course involves both generation and storage of renewable energies from naturally replenished renewable resources, such as sunlight, wind, geothermal heat, hydro-power, and biomass.

It will highlight how the concepts of green chemistry and sustainable development can impact the generation and storage of renewable energy.

In particular, toxicity of materials, limited waste, reusage, recycling, and recovery will be discussed in balance with their needed high performance to provide long-term feasible solutions to energy materials. 

  • Course structure

    1. Basics in renewable energy. Forms of energy, carbon cycle, available resources, energy generation and storage, fossil fuels, carbon capture/separation,  carbon conversion and utilization, and thermodynamics.
    2. Solar energy. Introduction to photovoltaics of various types, and solar-thermal conversion processes. 
    3. Wind energy and polymer materials. Onshore and offshore wind energy devices, storage of wind energy, and materials for wind turbines. 
    4. Biomass. Introduction to biomass, biofuels, biorefinery and biochemical processes, such as fermentation, bio-ethanol and bio-diesel formation. 
    5. Geothermal heat and hydropower. Basics in such renewable energy generation and storage, principles in device operation, and materials aspects.
    6. Battery for renewable energy storage. Introduction to lithium ion battery, and future batteries; battery component, safety, sustainability and recycling.
    7. Fuel cells. Introduction to different types of fuel cells, electrocatalysis, ion exchange membranes, and typical types of energy fuels.
    8. Hydrogen energy. Introduction of hydrogen production, storage and utilization as green energy-carrier. 
    9.  Lab courses. Five lab experiments (full day, each for six hours) designed to conduct renewable energy generation (e.g. sun energy) and storage (e.g. electrochemical energy storage).

    Teaching format

    Lectures and laboratory work.

    Learning outcomes and our expectations on you

    Upon completion of the course you should be able to:

    • understand principles and pros/cons of typical renewable energy generation and storage devices and systems. 
    • discuss sustainability aspects in photo(electro)chemical, and electrochemical processes, and biorefinery 
    • know the green chemistry impact in photovoltaic systems 
    • describe the solar steam generation system for e.g. clean water production
    • explain basics in common electrochemical processes in batteries and fuel cells 

    You will be expected to:

    • Attend and actively participate in the lectures and the lab courses
    • Participate in discussions with other students and the teachers
    • Read the assigned literature and complete the assignments on time


    Written exam


    Jiayin Yuan

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    • Hand-outs and articles in electronic form.
    • Reference book: Chemistry of Sustainable Energy. Editor: Nancy E. Carpenter, 2014, ISBN 9781466575325
  • Course reports

  • Contact



    Course coordinator and examiner
    Chemistry Section & Student Affairs Office